A start has been made on the utility diversion works in Birmingham City Centre for the extension of Midland Metro between Snow Hill and New Street railway stations, with Norman Baker, Transport Minister, on hand to start the work! This is the first progress to be seen in the actual City Centre on the extension since it was given the go-ahead although work has already been underway on the viaduct linking the current Metro line with the City Centre.
Whilst in Birmingham Mr Baker said: “This scheme is great news for Birmingham and the West Midlands and will provide a new, greener transport choice for those wanting to reach the city’s shopping streets as well as the emerging business district in Snow Hill. The Metro extension will also cut congestion, improve air quality and be a real boon for the local economy by creating 1,300 new jobs. This is an example of the kind of infrastructure
project we need to help boost growth around the UK and that is why I am pleased that we have been able to contribute £75 million towards the cost of the scheme.”
The extension will see trams leave the original line just before the current Snow Hill terminus onto a new £9 million viaduct, which as mentioned above has already been constructed, before going down Upper Bull Street, Corporation Street and terminating at Stephenson Street directly outside the new entrance for New Street Station (this is being built as part of the Gateway rebuild of the Station). It is planned that the first trams will be carrying passengers on this extension in 2015, by which time a fleet of new CAF trams will be in operation.
Cllr Jon Hunt, Vice Chairman of Centro, said: “The start of work on the Metro extension is a real milestone in the transformation of our city’s transport system. It will not only bring jobs and increased economic activity but will also help create a much improved shopping environment especially in Corporation Street which will be cleaner, quieter and far less congested.”
Cllr Tahir Ali, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and
Skills, added: “The economic advantages of rapid transit networks are well documented yet Birmingham remains the only city of its size in Europe without one. This extension will start to put that right and serve as a platform for further routes to key locations like the airport and the forthcoming high speed rail station. That will help Birmingham and the West Midlands compete for jobs and investment in an increasingly fierce global